Marijuana Retail Laws

Licensed cannabis retailers in Colorado do not engage in sales to underage operatives, according to data provided by the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division and reported by Marijuana Moment.

An agency memo, dated August 9, states: “To date this year, the MED has conducted over 190 underage compliance checks utilizing underage operatives. Among underage compliance checks completed, four (4) businesses have made sales to the underage operative. This demonstrates a 98 percentage compliance rate.”

The data is consistent with prior assessments of marijuana retailers in Colorado, as well as in several other states, showing either 100 percent compliance or extremely high compliance with minimum age requirements.

For instance, a prior study of Colorado businesses determined that marijuana retailers are more likely to be compliant within minimum age requirements than are alcohol retailers. Investigators concluded, “The [cannabis] retail market at present may not be a direct source of marijuana for underage individuals.” More recent data provided from California reported 100 percent compliance among the retailers evaluated. “At 100 percent of the recreational marijuana outlets visited, the pseudo-underage patrons were required to show age identification to enter,” authors concluded. “It appears that California recreational marijuana outlets avoid selling to underage customers.”

Commenting on the results, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “Regulation works. Unregulated marijuana providers don’t ask for or check for ID, but licensed businesses most certainly do, and they fully understand the serious ramifications that will occur if they fail to vigilantly obey the law.”

Numerous studies have consistently failed to identify any uptick in either youth marijuana use or access attributable to adult-use legalization. Most recently, data published last week in the journal PLoS One concluded that the adoption of statewide laws regulating the sale of marijuana products to adults is not associated with any increase in cannabis initiation among people under 21 years of age.

Additional information is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, ‘Societal Impacts of Cannabis Dispensaries/Retailers.’

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